We often think of self-care rituals as little luxuries in our lives, but in reality, so many of the things we do to take care of ourselves are essential for our mental well-being and should be seen as staples in our routines.
We asked our Thrive community to share with us the small rituals and habits that have become staples for them. Which of these self-care tips will you try?
Meditating in the morning
“My morning meditation is a non-negotiable for me. It isn’t long or complicated, but this simple practice works for me. The few times I skipped it my body felt uncentered, and it made other tasks more difficult to complete. If I feel tense during the day, I go back to my breath work, and it gives me a mental restart.”
—Kristin Meekhof, resilience and wellness expert and author, Royal Oak, MI
Scheduling “worry time”
“When the pandemic began, I was worrying all day long. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting, and I knew something had to change. I decided to designate a specific time of day to worry. I would allow myself 15-30 minutes to simply think or write down my thoughts during my ‘worry time.’ Having a specific window of time to worry stopped me from ruminating throughout the rest of the day, which reduced my stress and allowed me to be more present. Now, I set ‘worry time’ each evening, and I plan to keep this practice in place. There is always something to worry about, and I want to keep my mind clear during the day so I can be my happiest self.”
—Farrah Smith, life coach, Los Angeles, CA
Sitting outside in silence
“My go-to self-care ritual is sitting on my rooftop garden with a cup of tea, simply sitting in solitude. I enjoy sitting there with my own thoughts, and sometimes I’ll do some breath work as well. If I feel extremely stressed that day, then I’ll sit for longer. This is how I try to shift my mood and my thoughts, and it’s become a non-negotiable for me.”
—Savitha Nanjappa, success coach, Bengaluru, India
Journaling before the workday begins
“My non-negotiable morning ritual looks like this: once I wake up and shower, I sit down and journal to recap my dreams, express my gratitude for the day, and write freely. Then, I meditate for twenty minutes before starting my day. Allowing myself the first hour of the day for myself has been the best thing not only for my own sake, but also for my family and loved ones.”
—Lennis, wellness mentor, Austin, TX
Setting boundaries with calls
“As much as I love my friends, considering that everything is virtual now, I limit all phone calls to 20 minutes. I find virtual interactions, especially of the video variety, very draining — and keeping them short has helped me combat digital fatigue. Setting this boundary has been a form of self-care for me, and it’s a non-negotiable now.”
—Anitha Balaraj, executive coach, Chennai, India
Taking pauses during the day
“Giving myself permission to ‘take a pause” has made a huge difference in my mental health. When everything in life is so frantic, we can often get caught in the tidal wave of impulsive energy and lose sight of what matters. Having the ability to take a few moments to just stop and breathe and to reflect on what we truly desire in each moment is exceptionally empowering. Instead of rushing to respond to emails and texts, taking a pause allows me to compose myself and my emotions so that I respond versus simply react. It lessened my stress, allowed space for inspiration and curiosity, and has become one of the best self-care tools I’ve ever embraced.”
—Sara Loos, transformation coach, Pacific Grove, CA
Drinking lemon water
“My non-negotiable self-care ritual is to start each day with a hot drink of water with sliced lemon, grated ginger, and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. After my alarm goes off, the first thing I do is boil the kettle and prepare my drink in a large mug, which I carry back upstairs while I get ready for the day ahead. It provides a zesty start to my day that leaves me feeling fresh, alert and ready for whatever the day brings. I’ve been doing this ritual for 25 years, and I can’t imagine starting my day any other way.”
—Caroline Peyton, nutritionist and naturopath, Cirencester, U.K.
“My self-care non-negotiable is going notification-free. I don’t have notifications on my phone anymore, and it helps me better control my attention and energy. Now, I walk for at least 30 uninterrupted minutes throughout the week, where I can get in my steps, rewind any thoughts, recharge, and look into ideas.”
—Loreta Pivoriunaite, coach and host, Lithuania
Taking workout classes
“My workout classes have become my escape from the everyday struggles of this pandemic. Something that I once dreaded has become one act that I look forward to on a daily basis. The release of endorphins is one thing, but I also feel myself improving and getting stronger day by day. I feel like I’m making progress towards something that is meaningful to me. My workout community has been my medicine to lift me up during this sad and dark time. We’ve created small rituals that I look forward to on a day to day basis, and I’m so glad I found this small addition in my life.”
—Nehal Mehra, senior customer success manager, New York, N.Y.
Using aromatherapy before bed
“In addition to my nightly ritual of turning off my phone, grabbing a book, and settling in with my cat, I also apply a sweet lavender oil to the back and sides of my neck. This nightly mini-massage relaxes muscles and the scent calms and lulls me into a pleasant night’s sleep. Aromatherapy has become something that is a must for me.”
—Elaine Hamilton, author, Seattle, WA
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